This interview was conducted in April 2019
Founded in 2011, gohenry offers pre-paid debit cards to young savers aged 6 to 18. The company provides a family banking service that gives children the opportunity to learn, earn, save and spend. Since raising more than £10 million through crowdfunding platform Crowdcube (and setting a world record in the process!), gohenry has launched in the US and become the market leader in the UK youth finance sector, with over 400,000 active children’s accounts.
Searching for a cap table solution that allowed them to move away from manual processes, gohenry sought out Capdesk. We caught up with the company’s Investor Relations Manager, Alex Rowe, to discuss how Capdesk has allowed gohenry to focus its attention on value creation instead of spreadsheets.
According to Alex, the main driving force behind the switch from Google Sheets to Capdesk was the inherent complexity of platforms that aren’t purpose-built for cap table management.
“Pulling information together was so difficult. Every time I got a request about our cap table, I had to set time aside to find the right sheet in our Drive, but then also find another couple of sheets that actually verified the information within.”
Sifting through duplicates and outdated sheets, the gohenry team was never entirely sure that the data they had pulled was accurate, resulting in a considerable amount of verification work.
Recognising the need to consolidate all of its data in an accessible portal that allowed for quick and simple information retrieval, gohenry joined Capdesk. Alex was impressed by the immediate effect the platform had.
“The initial results we saw from Capdesk were very much what we hoped. I get many ad hoc requests about our equity, which are unpredictable by nature. To have everything in one tool, so I can immediately access the information I need, is incredibly useful,” explained Alex.
“I can instantly see and export not just the cap table, but shareholders’ transaction histories, option grants, and convertible notes too, so I have all of our share issuances and transactions in chronological order.”
For gohenry, one of the main advantages of Capdesk was that time saved in cap table management was time freed up for working on higher-value projects and tasks.
“Overall, I spend just 25% of the time I used to on equity management. Not only because Capdesk is easier and quicker, but because I know it’s trustworthy. This lets me focus on non-administrative tasks which are ultimately more important for the business.”
Guaranteeing the accuracy of equity data is essential for two reasons. First, it prevents costly corrections in the future. Second, it gives employees and finance officers the confidence to trust the data and switch their focus to other areas.
“It gives me peace of mind knowing that we now have this tool in our back pockets, so we don’t have to get bogged down in the minutiae of simple equity management tasks,” explained Alex.
gohenry also found that Capdesk benefitted employees by demystifying the company’s employee options scheme.
“Options aren't always that easy for employees to make sense of. For them to be able to log in and get an understanding of what vesting really means, what their vesting schedule is and how much it would cost them to exercise those options, really clarifies things.”
However, for Alex, this aspect of the platform is much more than an educational tool. By providing easily understood information, Capdesk reinforces the core purpose and function of employee share schemes.
“The whole reason we offer options is to incentivise employees and to engage with team members more. What’s the point of having a scheme if no one’s going to exercise their options?”
Alex also discussed how Capdesk provided excellent customer service alongside the product, especially during the onboarding phase.
“We were trying to onboard in the middle of a massive crowdfunding campaign. We were slow and not very responsive at times, so I’m grateful for our onboarding analyst’s patience.”
Overall, Alex believes Capdesk has played a key role in allowing gohenry to prioritise value creation over relatively simple administrative tasks.
“I’m very glad we joined Capdesk. And I think it’s a bargain, too, considering the value it creates by letting us focus on more pressing business tasks.”